In an era where we seek signs of life beyond the earth’s confinement is a serious issue. However, scientifically it is interesting. It isn’t weird, it is the way we think about the natural world and the ways we tend to formulate questions surrounded by our uncanny speculations.
One of the very earliest discoveries of an Earth-like exoplanet orbiting the sun-like star happened a little over 3000 lights years away. The Earth-like planet was named “Planet KOI-456.04.” The planet was thought to be like earth, and for various reasons such as:
- Share a similar distance between its sun, Kepler-160 with an orbit that takes about 378 days to complete the rotation.
- Receives 93 percent light, the same amount required for the earth to gets its light from the sun.
- When Kepler-160 was compared to earth, it was found to have similar to our sun in context to the mass and radius.
Scientists believe they found their Earth-like planet around the solar vicinity possessing the ability to sustain life.
Despite earlier discoveries of Earth-like planets, what was different about the discovery this time?
Most exoplanets that were discovered in the past happened around red dwarfs, a high probability why they are improbable hosts to a habitable planet. Consider the fact that they even emit high-energy radiation and flares making it difficult for any life to sustain. A research paper published in Astronomy and Astrophysics journal earlier this month mentioned Planet KOI-456.04 as the fourth planet to be orbiting the Kepler-160.
How was the discovery made?
The conclusion was made about the discovery only after the examination of Planet KOI-456.04 data gathered by NASA. This happened when completing a mission – finding Kepler’s mission using algorithms to study the star’s brightness, Kepler-160. The study was led by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) with other researchers from the University of California Santa Cruz along with NASA.
An MIT technology report says exoplanets were discovered while looking for stellar transits. Thus, the same method was used to find the other two exoplanets – Kepler-160b and Kepler-160c from the Kepler-160 system.
But this method was best suited for discovering planets that orbit red dwarfs.
Conclusions were made after confirmation of the periodic dips in the brightness as the object passes in front of the star. However, this method was used to discover the other two planets – Kepler-160b and Kepler-160c.
It is said, the yellow dwarfs were more suitable to sustain life as compared to the red dwarfs.
The Kepler-160 was studied for nearly four years by the Kepler mission owing to its much alike factors to the sun, with a surface temperature of 5200 Degree Celsius, 300 Degrees lesser than the sun, and a radius of 1.1 solar radii.
In a nutshell, KOI-456.04 is at a region having a stellar habitable zone while having the distance ranging around a star with liquid surface water like how it is on an Earth-like planet.
Researchers have claimed KOI-456.04 to be 85 percent actual planet, soon to be confirmed by two upcoming telescopes – ESA’s PLATO and NASA’s James Webb.